$4.5 million settlement approved in Geisinger malpractice lawsuit

By Joe Dolinsky - [email protected] | August 21st, 2017 3:35 pm - updated: 11:20 pm.

WILKES-BARRE — Geisinger will settle a medical malpractice lawsuit with the widow of a former patient for $4.5 million, a judge ordered Monday.

Andrew J. Martin, 70, died on May 16, 2016, about 11 weeks after he arrived at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, according to court documents. Martin is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margaret Martin of Edwardsville, and three adult children.

The lawsuit, filed by way of writ of summons on June 29, “arises out of the medical care and treatment provided to Andrew Martin while he was a patient at Geisinger … on Feb. 29, 2016 and his resultant death 77 days later,” court documents say. The suit named Geisinger Wyoming Valley and Geisinger Clinic as defendants.

Documents petitioning the court for approval of the settlement say Andrew Martin remained “awake, alert, oriented, responsive and in no apparent distress” leading up to his death, but further details, including why he was admitted to the hospital and how he died, could not be located in Luzerne County Court.

Margaret Martin’s attorney, Matt Casey of Philadelphia law firm Ross Feller Casey, declined to comment Monday.

Geisinger didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Court documents say the parties entered into settlement negotiations that lasted several months, ultimately agreeing to the multi-million dollar sum in recent weeks. The settlement, court documents say, will be paid out in two installments: an initial $3.5 million due within 20 days and another $1 million payable by Dec. 31.

Martin’s family will receive approximately 2.5 million while Ross Feller Casey will receive approximately 1.8 million. Remaining funds will go toward liens and other miscellaneous fees.

Casey and fellow attorney Jennifer Russell spent more than 1,000 hours pouring through nearly 20,000 pages of medical records pertaining to Andrew Martin’s 77-day hospitalization before he died, court documents say.

“The development of the case required a substantial amount of counsel’s professional time and resources, a thorough understanding of the complex medical issues involved, as well as sophisticated legal skills in developing multiple liability theories against the defendants, and successfully negotiating a settlement of all claims,” court documents say.

Geisinger maintained their care was “timely, appropriate, and complied in all respects with the accepted standard of care and did not contribute to or cause Mr. Martin’s death,” according to court documents.

Judge Lesa S. Gelb approved the settlement.


By Joe Dolinsky

[email protected]

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.